Sheriff’s use of public funds questioned

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(Host) Vermont’s state auditor is leveling some serious charges against Windham County Sheriff Sheila Prue.

Auditor Randy Brock says Prue used thousands of dollars in public money to pay for family trips, building materials for renovations on her home and a wide array of other personal expenses.

(Brock) “It certainly is a significant and troubling instance where public funds do not appear to have been used appropriately or properly documented.”

(Host) Brock says he’s referred the matter to the attorney general’s office and US Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.

Brock spent seven months auditing the sheriff’s department.

He says the department’s record-keeping is in such bad shape that he’s not sure all the improper expenses have been uncovered.

(Brock) “We worked on it very extensively because part of the problem was that the record-keeping was in disarray. Of the credit bills for example, about half of the credit card bills were not in the department. So that caused us to go to banks and credit card companies in order to get the statements and once we had the statements in many cases we had to go to individual vendors to reconstruct what was purchased.”

(Host) The auditor says personal expenses paid with public money included family members’ cell phones, groceries, a banjo and numerous other items.

So far, there’s been no reaction from the sheriff.

Prue has repaid about $6,000 of the funds in question.

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